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Appeared on: Thursday, July 08, 2010
Nexus VCT-9000 review


1. Features
Manufacturer
Nexus
Model
Price 

$50

Category
Silent users
Today we will test the Nexus VCT-9000, CPU cooler designed to perform quietly.and quiet operation. The cooler a combines some of the most popular technologies in the market used for CPU coolers: heat pipes directly on the CPU core, SkiveTek and 3 types of ultra-thin fins combined with a silent PWM controlled 12cm fan at a 25 degree angle.

The 120mm fan is PWM controlled and the speed varies between an utterly low 500 and 1600 RPM . Further more the fan is fitted with for blue LED's.

The 5 heat pipes (one of 8mm and four of 6mm diameter) are fitted using the Heat pipe-On-Core technology to guarantee the fasted heat dissipation possible.

.

- Highlights

- Product features

NH-U9B

V-Shape fins
The Nexus VCT-9000 has 3 different shape aluminium fins. The bottom section of the fins has a characteristic V-shape. This V-shape allows the air flow generated by the 12cm fan to reach the target area on top of the CPU core for effective cooling. When you compare this solution with side-blowing cpu coolers in the market you notice that this area is not touched by the airflow of most of these models. A clear advantage for the VCT-9000 compared to side-blowers.

HOC-Technology
Heat pipe technology is the most effective way to quickly transport heat from one side to another.  By placing the heat pipes directly on the core of the CPU you make use of this benefit in the most effective way. Heat is absorbed directly from the CPU core.

Five heat pipe design

The Nexus VCT-9000 is equipped with five heat pipes. The centre heat pipe which is directly on the middle of the CPU is 8mm in diameter and provides cooling for the heart of the CPU. On either side of the 8mm heat pipe there are two 6mm heat pipes.

SkiveTek-Technology

The base element is fitted with an efficient SkiveTek heat sink made from practically pure aluminium. With SkiveTek technology we create a heat sink with a base plate and fins constructed out of a single piece of aluminium. This is done by cutting the material in thin layers and bending the fins in place. No bonding, welding or soldering is involved ; the joint between fin and base is continuous aluminium

Smooth airflow

The 12cm silent PWM fan on the VCT-9000 is positioned on the cooler under a smooth angle. This means the air blows onto the heat sink fins and SkiveTek base at an angle. Nexus claims that this gives great cooling performance, better than vertical positioned fans with horizontal positioned fins. Yet the angle is smooth enough not to cause obstruction.


2. A closer look

The Nexus VCT-9000 retails for about $50, which is an average price for a CPU cooler. It can be installed in s Intel's LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA775 & AMD's AM2, AM2+, AM3 systems.

The device comes in a medium-sized box with a windowed corner giving a fairly clear view of the contents. The full feature listing and specifications can be found on the other two sides of the box.

The package includes the VCT-9000, a user manual, thermal grease with a spreader and Intel and AMD mounting components.

The VCT-9000 has a different design than other heatsinks we have tested. First of all, the 12cm PWM fan on the VCT-9000 is positioned on the cooler under an angle. It also has 3 different shape aluminium fins. The bottom section of the fins has a characteristic V-shape. In addition, the base element is fitted with a ' SkiveTek' heat sink made from practically pure aluminium.With SkiveTek technology, Nexus created a heat sink with a base plate and fins constructed out of a single piece of aluminium. This is done by cutting the material in thin layers and bending the fins in place.

The differently-shaped aluminium fins allows the air flow generated by the fan to reach the target area on top of the CPU core for effective cooling. When you compare this solution with side-blowing cpu coolers in the market you notice that this area is not touched by the airflow of most of these models. This could be an advantage for the VCT-9000 compared to side-blowers, at least in theory.

The angled CPU fan blows air onto both the the heat sink fins and SkiveTek base at an angle. Nexus claims that this gives great cooling performance, better than vertical positioned fans with horizontal positioned fins, since there is more intense contact by the airflow on the fins. However, such designs have proved to be not very efficient in some previous tests we have done. Let's hope that the Nexus VCT-9000 will be a pleasant exception.

The Nexus VCT-9000 is equipped with five heat pipes. The centre heat pipe which is directly on the middle of the CPU is 8mm in diameter and provides cooling for the heart of the CPU. On either side of the 8mm heat pipe there are two 6mm heat pipes.

The cooler has not a separate base plate. By placing the heat pipes directly on the core of the CPU heat is absorbed directly from the CPU core.

The cooler's overall weight is kept low at 635gr, and its dimensions are also kept in reasonable sizes at a height of 15cm and a width of 13cm.

Before installation, the first step is to plug the Intel or AMD clips and then tighten up the four screws on the base of the cooler. In our case (Intel system), the clips are not any different than those you find in Intel's standard CPU kit. The push-pin mounting method is simple: place the motherboard vertically, change the push pin position for LGA 775/1366/1156 socket and press down hold the cooler on the motherboard. The specific installation method is quick and easy but it usually does not keep the cooler in firm contact with the CPU.

Installing this cpu cooler requires some attention. Due to its design, we experienced some problems with the nearby mosfets and the cpu cooler couldn't be installed properly. Be careful as you are pushing the cooler towards the motherboard as it could be damaged.

The cpu cooler also interfered with the memory banks, so installation can be harder if your memory modules have any extra cooling system installed:


3. How we test

Here is our test bed:

We produced the highest possible temperature using the OCCT v2.0.1 software with a custom 30mins (mixed) operation:

 

We left both cores of our Intel Core i7-920 running at full load for ~30 minutes. The temperatures were logged using the CoreTemp 0.99.3 and the software itself. We took two measurements with our CPU running at stock speed and with then under overclocking:

The sound measurements were logged using the Precision Gold N09AQ Environment Meter. All the measurements were taken at a 30cm distance from the cpu cooler, with its fan spinning at full speed. For all the coolers appearing in the comparison charts we used the thermal compound, the Tuniq TX-2. As a last note, we remind you that these measurements may slightly differ from any possible measurements you may have, even if you are using the same testing configuration.


4. Results

We are ready to begin our tests. Firstly, we keep the Intel Core i7-920 processor running at stock speed. The Nexus VCT-9000 lowered the CPU temperature to just 53 degrees Celsius. The performance is lower than we expected and as you can see in the graph below, the cooler's ranking is not very high compared to other products:

Pushing the Intel Core-i7 920 to work at 3.60GHz makes things even harder for Nexus VCT-9000 cooler. What we got was 81 degrees C, which is just 9 degrees C less than what you would get from Intel' stock cooling solution. It is obvious that the VCT-9000 is not the best solution under overclocking conditions:

Nexus claims that the VCT-9000 is ultra-quiet and efficient. Although we cannot agree with the latter, the VCT-9000 is really very quiet. Actually it is the quietest CPU cooler we have tested here. We measured just 38dB of noise (30cm distance), which is almost as low as what we measured for the cooler Intel packs their processor with:

As we previously mentioned, the Nexus VCT-9000 retails for about $50, which is an average price for a cooler. Of course, after having testing the device, we think that a better price would give the product a better value/money ratio.


5. Final words

The Nexus VCT-9000 has an innovative design with 3 different shape aluminium fins and a 12mm PWM fan positioned on the cooler under an angle. Nexus claims that this design is offering high performance and low operation noise. We cannot fully agree with the latter only. It seems that removing surface area from the fins made the cooler less efficient, despite Nexus' efforts to maintain enough air stream throughout the complete area of the heat sink (angled fan). According to our tests, the VCT-9000 will keep the temperature of your CPU down but its cooling efficiency would be comparable to Intel's stock cooler, especially under overclocking. Under less demanding conditions and with our Intel Core i7-920 running at stock speeds, the VCT-9000 positioned itself somewhere in the middle of our performance lists.

On the other hand, the cooler is the quietest one among all the cooling solutions we have ever tested in-house. We measured just 37dB of noise and this is as low as you may have already been experiencing from your Intel's stock cooler.

We also encountered some problems when we tried to install the cooler on our Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard. The mosfets around the CPU area resulted to a struggle fitting. In addition, the cooler was large enough to extend above the memory area. This means that if you are using any kind of extra cooling for your memory, make sure to check its height before installing the Nexus VCT-9000.

On top of its mediocre standings on the performance list, the Nexus VCT-9000 retails for about $50. As you realize, there are plenty of coolers on the market that will offer better cooling at a lesser price. If you look it as a stock replacement, you may consider buying the product, but not expect much if you are planning to overclock your CPU. If you insist on overclocking, you'd better choose something else since there is no need to pay $50 and get a marginal better cooler than your current stock solution.

To sum up, the Nexus VCT-9000 offers medium to low performance, it is extremely quiet and needs your attention during installation. We would like to see an improved version of the product in the future.

Retail package
Design
Motherboard compatibility
Installation time
Copper Base quality

Pros:

+ Good retail package
+ Good volume for fitting most PC cases
+ Includes 120mm fan
+ Very low noise levels, even at full speed
+ Works with both AMD/Intel platforms

Cons:

- Performance is low compared with other products
- Highly priced for what it offers
- Be careful with the installation if you are having an Asus P6T Deluxe

 



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